Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread



Dr. John Hoole – May 7, 2017



Two men were talking together.  The first challenged the other, ΅If you are so religious, lets hear you quote the Lord¨s Prayer.  I bet you $10 you can’t.  The second responded: 


                   “Now I lay me down to sleep,

                   I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

                   And if I die before I wake,

                   I pray the Lord my soul to take.


The first pulled out his wallet and fished out a ten-dollar bill, as he muttered, “I didn’t think you could do it.”


In our study of the Lord’s Prayer, as it is mentioned in Matthew 6, we have come to the second half of the prayer.  Last week we looked at the lofty and majestic thoughts concerning the will of God.  “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  And now, almost seemingly mid-stream, the Lord switches to something so mundane and so earthly as bread.


Matthew 6:9-11 NKJV


  9     Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.

10     Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

11     Give us this day our daily bread.


His will that we looked at a week ago is not just a list of “Thou Shalts” and “Thou Shall nots.”  His will also include a list of “I Wills”  - a phrase that occurs in the Bible 2,236 times.


•  I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).


•  I will not leave you comfortless (John 14:18).


•  I will be a Father to you (2 Corinthians 6:18).


•  I will come again (John 14:3).


•  I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh (Acts 2:17).


•  I will be your God (Jeremiah 11:4).


As we go from verse 10, about God’s will being done on earth as in Heaven, and move to verse 11 about our individual needs, keep in mind that it is part of His will to concern himself with all parts of our lives.  And that includes something so mundane or common as bread.


We humans have a problem.  We have the tendency to put parts of our lives into several buckets or compartments.  We label things very tidily as we see them.  We call one thing “sacred,” while we label other things as “secular.”  We esteem some things in life as very spiritual and very special.  But we look at other things as quite simple and rather insignificant.


But I don’t believe God sees things like we do.  God is concerned with every area of our lives.  Once anything has been touched by the presence of God it takes on sacred significance.  We should live every part of our lives ever conscious of the abiding presence of Christ.  He is concerned with every aspect of our lives.


Today we address the first request of anything for ourselves.  Thus far, we have learned that God must always be put first, and that the honoring of his name, the coming of his kingdom, and doing his will, are always to be thought about and sought for before any matter of our own.


Having said that, I need to say that our God is not stingy in caring for His children.  Ofttimes He supplies their needs most abundantly, giving them far more than they need.




While crossing the Atlantic on an ocean liner, F.B. Meyers was asked to address the 1st class passengers.  At the captain’s request he spoke on “Answered Prayer.”  An agnostic who was present at the service was asked by his friends,  “What did you think of Dr. Meyer’s sermon?”  He answered, “I didn’t believe a word of it.”


That afternoon Meyers went to speak to the steerage passengers.  Many of the listeners at his morning address went along, including the agnostic, who claimed he just wanted to hear “what the babbler had to say.”  Before leaving his cabin for the meeting, the agnostic put two oranges in his pocket.  On the way, he passed an elderly woman sitting in her deck chair fast asleep.  Her hands were open, facing upwards.  In the spirit of fun, the agnostic put the two oranges in her outstretched palms.


After the meeting, he saw the lady happily eating one of the pieces of fruit.  “You seem to be enjoying that orange,” he remarked with a smile.  “Yes sir,” she replied, “My Father is very good to me.”  “Your father?  Surely your father can’t be still alive.”  “Praise God,” she replied, “He is very much alive.”  “What do you mean?” pressed the agnostic.  She explained, “I’ll tell you, sir.  I have been seasick for days.  I was asking God somehow to send me an orange.  I suppose I fell asleep while I was praying.  When I awoke, I found He had not only sent me one orange but two.


Yes, God keeps all His promises.  He is trustworthy.  And, by the way, the agnostic later gave his heart to the Lord.


Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.”


I John 5:14-15   (NIV)


14     This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

15     And if we know that he hears us-- whatever we ask-- we know that we have what we asked of him.


And Paul says of Jesus, in Ephesians 3:20   (KJV)


20     Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.


What super abundance has He promised?  Whatever we ask of Him.


Let me use another homely illustration.  Imagine the family sitting around the dining table at Thanksgiving.  Around our table would be all the family that could make it, including our children.  Paula has prepared a scrumptious meal, and others have brought salads, deserts, etc.  Following grace, everyone has their fill.


What has this to do with petitioning prayer.  I see your prayer of petition very much akin to  the request, “Please pass the potatoes” during our dinner.  There is never a question about whether or not the potatoes will be passed.  Their presence on the table means that they are available.  The request (petition) is but a polite way of saying that you cannot reach what you now desire from where you sit.  The person closest to the potatoes will pass them to the petitioner.


The Father has provided all things needed by His family.  He will not thrust these things upon the children, but He delights to serve them up as soon as they are requested.  This is part and parcel of the promise that divine provision has been granted to us “that our joys may be full.”


It is a great comfort to know that we may bring our physical needs to God in prayer.  Throughout the Scriptures, we are taught that nothing which concerns us in any way, is too small to be of interest to our heavenly Father.  While the specific prayer here is for bread, I believe it includes all our physical needs.


Later in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes this important statement:


Matthew 6:25-26 NKJV


25     Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

26     Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?


We are taught that God provides for the birds and lilies.  Then He teaches that the Father will much more care for us.  Nothing necessary for our life is too small or too earthly to be included in our prayers.  Like all the sayings of Christ, this one in the Lord’s Prayer is also full of deep meaning.  Every word He uses has rich suggestions.


Give us this day our daily bread.  When we ask God to give us bread, we recognize our dependence on him for it.  We depend on God for our health, our ability to work to make a living.  We are dependent on God for the ability to eat our bread, to digest it, and receive strength from it to be healthy.  For we read in Acts 17:28a (NKJV):


28     For in Him we live and move and have our being,…


We are dependent on the Lord for every breath in our nostrils, and this is what this prayer teaches us.  We have to come before the Lord with even the request for a slice of bread. When we see our dependence upon God, we learn to understand 1 Corinthians 4:7, which says:


7       For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?


We need to recognize that every good thing we have has come from the hand of our Lord.


James 1:17 tells us:


17     Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.


God is the owner of all things.  Therefore, we must come to Him for the smallest blessing such as our daily bread.


Psalm 50:10-12 instructs us:


10     For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills.

11     I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine.

12     If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness.


We must see that everything belongs to our Lord.  Therefore, we must come to Him for everything we need.


We also learn from the life of Elijah that the Lord wants His people to come to Him day by day.  We must understand that we are fully dependent on God.  Elijah was a favored prophet of the Lord.  In fact, he is one of two persons in the history of the Bible that did not die.  The Lord took him to heaven.  He was one of the greatest, beloved of the Lord.  1 Kings 17 tells us how dependent Elijah was on the Lord.


1 Kings 17:6 NKJV


6       The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.


                   Elijah looked to the Lord for his daily sustenance.


Let me close our discussion of the petitioning form of prayer with this comment.  In John 15:5, Jesus says “without me you can do nothing.”  If Jesus was accurate in saying, “without me you can do nothing,” then productive prayer must be done with Him - not without Him.


The believer can now embrace the admonition found in Philippians 4:6,


“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.


When we pray, we need to always remember…


                   1.      The love of God that wants the best for us.


                   2.      The wisdom of God that knows what is best for us.


                   3.      The power of God that can accomplish it.